BY SARA SHEIKH
Much like a visit to a winery, visitors to The Olive Leaf are encouraged to sip the wares. The store is a tasting gallery where dozens of olive oils and balsamic vinegars are stored in stainless steel fustis, available on tap, and bottled on-site.
“We change our unflavored oils every six months,” co-owner Linda Armes says. “The northern hemisphere harvests in the fall, and the southern hemisphere harvests in the spring. Our varieties are always changing to make sure we are offering customers the freshest, healthiest oils.”
To accentuate the differences between products and to educate customers, all oils include product-specific information, including harvest dates, intensity, polyphenols, and peroxide levels.
The Olive Leaf, located in The Shoppes at 879 S. College Mall Rd., is locally owned and operated by Armes and Lisa Hornibrook, who purchased the business in September 2014. In addition to olive oils and balsamic vinegars, the shop also sells Peacetree Mountain Truffles, another venture owned by Armes and Hornibrook along with a third partner, Gretchen Handlos. The three started Peacetree in August 2011. They became acquainted with The Olive Leaf’s former owners after creating a custom balsamic truffle for the store.
Now, The Olive Leaf serves as both the retail front and production facility for Peacetree Mountain Truffles. Not surprisingly, olive oils and balsamic vinegars have been incorporated into the truffle flavors available, among them Dark Chocolate Balsamic and Blood Orange Olive Oil. Other truffle selections include cookie, wine, coffee, traditional, and seasonal flavors.
In 2015, Peacetree Mountain Truffles was accepted into the juried Indiana Artisan program and participated in the annual Indiana Artisan Marketplace event, where Armes discovered other Indiana Artisan goods, which are now carried in the store.
“We try to be very selective,” Armes says. “Our extra virgin olive oils and vinegars are of such high quality that we want to make sure anything we bring into our store is also high quality.”
The Olive Leaf is open 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday–Saturday. For more information, visit oliveleafbloomington.com or call 812-323-3073.